The Chinese Human Rights Defenders group says nearly as many activists were detained in China last year—955—as in the previous two years combined, attributing the rise to the increasingly strict style of national leader Xi Jinping, who ascended to power in late 2012. From the group’s press release:
Based on data tracked over the years, CHRD finds that there were nearly as many confirmed cases of arbitrary detention of HRDs in 2014 as in the previous two years combined. During two “politically sensitive” periods in 2014, around the 25th anniversary of June Fourth and as pro-democracy protests took place in Hong Kong in the fall, police detained more than 200 rights defenders over two successive crackdowns. More human rights lawyers were criminally detained or prosecuted in 2014 than in any single year since the early 2000s. The due process rights of detained HRDs were systematically violated, as seen in many cases involving unreasonably prolonged pre-trial detentions, restricted access to lawyers, and deprivation of medical treatment.
The CHRD notes that many types of activists persecuted currently are “more diverse and politically moderate” than the pro-democracy dissidents and Falun Gong devotees who’ve been involved in past high-profile incidents; the individuals detained this year, it says, include advocates for “public health, anti-discrimination, equal education, migrants, laborers, and women’s rights.”